What are digital license plates?

What are digital license plates?

In our growing digital age, we have connected technology in the office, the home and on our wrists. Now, as the innovations behind the connected car begin to take shape, the latest development is the digital license plate.

Currently trialing in Arizona and California in the US and also in Dubai, this new driver plate will see vehicles fitted with digital screens, GPS and transmitters.

Like eCall technology, these new plates will be able to inform the emergency services in the event of an accident or collision. But they will also be able to do much more than that. They will enable real-time communication with other drivers and with connected city infrastructure to inform the driver of traffic conditions or possible delays to their journey. The plates can be connected to a user’s central account, meaning that any outstanding parking fees, road fines or license plate renewals would be automatically paid. Interestingly, these plates can also have their display changed to show if the vehicle has been stolen, helping the police to track and catch the criminal.

Naturally, such exchange of personal information with the city can breed privacy and security concerns. Fears have been raised that the GPS services could be used as a method of tracking vehicle speeding, while questions over the security of personal data are also a legitimate concern.

However, steps have been taken to protect road users against these threats. For instance, Reviver, the US license plate manufacturer, claims that users can switch off their location data at any time and that the data is never shared with law enforcement or third parties. They also state that personal data is stored in an encrypted cloud, using the same standards that apply to online banking. And so, there is sufficient protection against any new threats these plates could expose users to.

Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, the head of the Vehicle Licensing Department at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has also spoken of the benefits of digital plates. He has indicated that they will make driving in Dubai much easier and that the on-going trial will work out any potential glitches in the technology.

What do you think? Are you excited to receive a digital license plate? Tweet us @JustAskGemalto or comment below!